The European Commission has announced that it is investigating Apple, Meta, Amazon, and Alphabet – Google’s parent company – for possible non-compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA). This initiative marks an important step in the enforcement of new rules intended to curb the market power of major online platforms.

Suspicion that companies do not meet obligations

According to an official statement from the Commission, it is suspected that the measures taken by these companies, classified as “gatekeepers”, do not comply with the obligations arising from the DMA. The purpose of this legislation is to promote fair competition and combat monopolistic practices in the digital economy.

The investigation will specifically focus on various practices of these companies. Under scrutiny: Alphabet’s rules regarding user targeting within the Google Play Store and self-preference on Google Search, Apple’s policies in the App Store and Safari selection screen, and Meta’s model requiring users to pay or consent for data use. It also examines Apple’s new pricing structure for alternative app stores and Amazon’s ranking practices in its marketplace.

The European Commission has instructed these companies to retain certain documents to ensure effective implementation and compliance with DMA obligations. This investigation is expected to take twelve months, with fines of up to 10% of the total worldwide turnover of the company in question in case of violation.

Most serious case: potential coercive measures

In serious cases of systematic infringement, this can result in coercive measures requiring a company to sell parts or be prohibited from acquiring additional services. This illustrates the EU’s strong approach to ensuring a fair digital market.

The DMA is designed to exert control over the major digital platforms, classifying them as “gatekeepers” that can pose a significant obstacle in the digital economy. So far, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance (parent company of TikTok), Meta, and Microsoft have been identified as the main gatekeepers under this legislation.

This investigation comes on the heels of a US Department of Justice lawsuit against Apple, alleging the company abuses its market power to limit competition and stifle innovation. With this research, the European Commission is taking a clear step towards regulating the power of large tech companies and promoting a healthy digital economy.


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